Hundreds of thousands of small businesses around the UK; four in every five local authorities and millions of consumers around the country now engage with the campaign each year. Spend on the day has risen by more than £249 million between 2013 and 2016, an increase of 53 per cent. Last year an estimated £717 million was spent with small businesses across the UK on the day itself.
American Express originally founded the ‘Small Business Saturday’ initiative in the US in 2010 and remains the principal supporter of the campaign in the UK, as part of its on-going commitment to encourage consumers to shop small. The campaign is also supported by PRS for Music, Dropbox and Mercedes Benz Vans and also benefits from the backing of leading business organisations including the Federation of Small Businesses and Enterprise Nation.
“Over the last five years, Small Business Saturday has had a tangible economic impact on small businesses around the country,” explains Michelle Ovens MBE, Director of Small Business Saturday UK.
“We have a growing and highly engaged network of small business owners who recognise the benefit of getting involved and making Small Business Saturday work for their own companies and in their own communities. Our aim this year is to get even more businesses around the UK to experience that effect.”
Rowena Howie, owner of Revival Retro, a small London retro fashion business said: “Not only did we have more new interest shoppers and higher footfall on Small Business Saturday last year, we also saw a 35 per cent increase in sales compared with the same Saturday in 2015.”
Carolyn Frank, owner of Libby Butler Jewellers in Helmsley, near York, says: “Small Business Saturday campaign has had a huge impact since its beginning in 2013. It’s become an established family tradition for customers to start their Christmas by visiting small businesses on the day, whereas once they were last on the list after the “big high street” or online shops. People are also more aware of small businesses all year round because of it. I think it’s because it’s a genuine grassroots initiative that it’s gathered pace so quickly, and has reminded customers about the great variety and choice that small businesses can offer. As a retailer myself, I like it that it’s not just about us, but also about our suppliers and other businesses we use personally too. It’s changed my own consumer behaviour as well as boosting my business. “
In 2016, over 80 per cent of all local authorities covering the country actively supported the campaign in a variety of ways, from staging or supporting small business events to offering free parking. Positive consumer sentiment and support to small businesses was echoed through social media. Over 130,000 tweets were sent on the day itself reaching more than 140 million people, with Small Business Saturday UK trending at number one in the UK and at number five globally.
As with previous years, events will be planned throughout the UK in the run-up to and on Small Business Saturday itself, including the return of the annual nationwide bus tour, details of which will be announced later in the year and the annual search for the Small Biz 100, the small businesses to be profiled each day in the 100 days leading up to December 2nd. Small businesses will be encouraged to get involved and create special events or promotions themselves to mark the day. Once again, the campaign will also be running Inspire, a nationwide series of free workshops run by experts and entrepreneurs for existing and aspiring small business owners. The workshops are all informal and participatory, with each followed by a Q&A and live Twitter Q&A. The events are streamed live online and are also available on the Small Business Saturday YouTube channel after each event.
More information can be found on the Small Business Saturday UK Facebook page, Twitter page (@SmallBizSatUk) and website www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.